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At the Gates of Heaven

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The tree-branch creaked, the noose tightened, and the next moment Judas was in the arms of the only man he had ever loved, kissing lips he had never dared to dream of kissing in his lifetime. The pleasure overwhelmed the surprise for a moment, and then the shook took over and he pulled away. "What…" he began, and then stopped, made speechless by the clarity and sweetness he saw in Jesus' eyes.

"Come on," Jesus said, smiling broadly. "We have to go see Father."

Judas looked around. He was unmistakably not in Judea. "Then your father is…" Oh. "And you are…" Oh. There was a delightful giddiness in the knowledge that everything he had ever believed in his entire life was utter nonsense. Judas took Jesus' hand and followed him into the chamber where God the Father sat in judgement.

"Well, Judas," God the Father asked, "what have you done with your life?"

Judas thought. "I betrayed Your Son to death," he said. "And then I killed myself."

"I see," said God the Father. "And do you have any explanation or excuse for what you have done?"

Judas tried to recall all the reasons that had seemed so important to him, important enough to die for. "No," he said. "Not really."

"Then do you think you should be allowed to remain in heaven?" God the Father asked. Judas wasn't sure he knew what the other option was, but he didn't think he was going to like it very much. Still, he had been given that one kiss, which was far more than he had expected. He was about to accept his fate when Jesus interrupted.

"Excuse me, Father," Jesus said, "there is something you have forgotten."

God the Father raised an eyebrow. "Yes?"

"I love this man," Jesus said, "and my soul is entwined with his. If you send him away, heaven will not be heaven for me. If you send him away then I will follow him, for he is beloved to me above all the greatness of heaven."

"Yes, there is that," God the Father sighed. "Very well, then, Judas. You may stay."

Jesus whooped with ecstatic laughter and grabbed Judas by the hand to lead him into heaven. He was stopped by God the Father's booming voice. "Judas, go. Jesus, wait one moment."

Judas bowed, and scampered off into the heaven that awaited him.

"Even since you've been back from earth," God the Father began crossly when Judas was out of earshot, "you've been like that with everyone who's come up here. Prostitutes, Roman soldiers, corrupt judges, and now this. 'My soul is entwined with his,'" God the Father mimicked, "'Beloved above heaven.' How am I supposed to get any judging done? Are you going to carry on like this with everyone you met down on earth?"

"Just you wait, Father," Jesus said with a grin. "Just you wait."